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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 17th Apr 2021, 07:02am
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Howden’s Transport…

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, have been fortunate throughout the years picking motorcars, while holding just the barest facts of their abilities, or jargon the salesmen add for effect. If they pleased the eye, and roughly in the chosen price range, we bought it.

My knowledge was really warped, around the age of 7 or so, while experiencing my first ever ride on a horse, around the countryside surrounding Newcastle. Trying to be keen in the wisdom of horses, I asked my experienced cohort this question…’How many miles to the gallon does it do?’ Silly billy…. or words to that effect.

Now I am wiser, more positive to have in my corner, the trustworthy threesome pals, Jim to purchase second-hand cars from, Peter, the wizard mechanic (Motortunes), and main man Fergus for advice on computers (all from Shotts). Throughout the ages, I believe we Scottish peoples, have an undeserved reputation of being very…very thrifty when it comes to money, but there is a reality in the motor trade, your personal gleaming transport depreciates by more than a couple of thousand pounds as soon as the purchase is made.

With our original spanking new, allegedly just off the line, red five door Ford Fiesta; named ‘Wiggy’, we began our first ever automobile excursion, or to be more correct vocation. Rebecca was acting as navigator with a touch of professional expertise and conviction, could only be given when an Ordnance Survey map is being used… being well before Tom...Tom,
As we were travelling, I had a notion to ask my wife if she was sure we were moving in the right direction. With a hint of indignity, she assured me this was so. Rebecca pointed out to the lone phone box as proof, then persuaded my eyes to look for a church and then again… like magic, the house of god appeared around the next bend. Travelling further down the road I began to fear we were going the wrong way.
Although years previously, I had been in this area, I had never been on this long road, I felt suspicion creep through my mind about direction being given by you know who. I made a slight mistake asking, if indeed this was the correct direction we were going.

Again, with absolute authority, Rebecca pointed to the map to prove her location was spot on, stating sort of hotly, there is the village post-box…there was telephone box. After a few miles Rebecca scrutinized the map for some time. Then Rebecca added clear instructions ‘we have to turn left here and then extreme right sharply’.

We, I mean me and the car, did manoeuvre exactly as ordered. Again, I inquired and quoted; to reach our chosen destination, how this did not feel the right direction to travel. As we voyaged onward…I heard my wife call out…in puzzlement…. “Who put the sea at that side?”

You cannot get lost in a car; you can only run out of petrol!
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peter.howden
post 22nd Apr 2021, 07:18pm
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Granddad’s letter;

It is amazing to watch just how much our children change over the years, where we were fortunate, was luck, which has a lot to do with it. Our family held on to being good natured decent people, respecting their parents and Grandma, but simply idolized their granddad. They were so impressed of his life story, which over the years his whole family reckoned they knew every step he had ever taken throughout his 84 years.

Not that grandpa was a boaster…far from it…but from almost the moment each one of his family was born, he gently steered them, before bedtime, read ‘Fairy Tales’ holding a moral attitude. These ethical tales, mixed up with events throughout his long life, his grandchildren felt privileged to stay at his home. On several occasions, he declared, with a wry smile, because of dire circumstances, when he was young, when he had broad shoulders, always working at something or other. He went down the pits shafts as a Banker man, among cursed Blackdamp, which stole his best mate from him. Later, after the miners’ strike in 1943, witnessed and worked with Bevin boys… held them in high esteem
One thing always remained a mystery, an unopened stamped letter, clearly addressed to Grandpapa, inside an extravagant photo frame, taking pride and place on the lintel of the ever-burning ingle-neuk.

Throughout many a year, the few occasions Granddad was asked about this despatch, his answers were evasive, or talked around it with another anecdote, remaining constantly enigmatic. The respect the entire family held for their proud grandparent, they never mentioned he forgot to specify the reason for the posted despatch…and no one knew when it was delivered…or why it was kept sealed.
Unfortunately, even strong old oxen’ have a contract with passing nature, as did ‘Boxer’, the strong determined but ignorant horse from Animal Farm, the story Grandpa told with great power of speech, many a winter’s night. But now his hour had come, quietly, with everyone he loved, and they loved him, being at his bedside. After the terrible shock and heart crushing loss, which would never go away, they had the traditional wake, talking only about their recollections and wisdom of their much-treasured Grandpa.

Their warm memories sprung thick and fast, with every word uttered held tenderness from within the hearts of respective orators, until one family member caught a glimpse of the letter, on the mantelpiece, sort of glowing displayed from the coal fire. ‘I wonder what is in the letter’ said the inquisitive youngster, as he moved towards the fireplace…then unexpectedly stopped in his track by Granny…who softly spoke ‘I believe it’s time the family knew your Grandfather’s secret’.

She calmly motioned all present, to sit down and pay attention, then continued. ‘we only found out some time back, your grandfather had this thing named neurologic disorder called ‘Alexia’, he has had this condition since the day he was born’. An unusual quietness surrounded the room, and you would have heard a pin as their elderly granny continued in a low sincere voice.

‘He believed, it must have been caused when a cranky mule kicked him, at the side of his head, just about the same time we became one for each other…some 68years ago’. Slowly a s if the words were verbal thorns coming out into the light after so long. Grandma, near tears explained, ‘once he had recovered at home, there was no money for fancy doctors, we made a pact…no one would be told’. She stopped to take a few breaths, then added; ‘maybe he was holding suborn pride, but from that very day…we set up home, I took all the lettering, bills paying and the like…he was a good man, he worked hard for his money’.

One of the older children present, pipped up ‘But gran, Granddad read, great fairy stories, to all of us, every time we were at your house… word for word perfect’. The grey-haired lady smiled, then replied, ‘we practiced for two nights before you came, apart from reading and writing, he had a good memory and active brain’. ‘He tried for years to be literate …but for some reason, it just did not happen…we were non-believers, so we could not blame him above!’.

Taking time to sip some black tea, she added, ‘some 50 years ago, that very letter arrived, and Granddad decided, if he could not read it…it would stay unopened’. She inhaled a deep breath before restarting with, ‘Well that was not strictly true…we both thought it may be a letter, from the authorities, asking us to go to court…because we were not married, we jumped the broomsticks!’

The family sat there in total silence, but just gaping at this kind Nanna, with astonishment. The oldest son asked when we would open this letter. The mother smiled shyly… ‘it was your father’s secret all this time; it will be buried with him’.
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peter.howden
post 9th May 2021, 08:11am
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My Chronicles 09/05/2021


In some parts of the recent years, taking care, and concern of Aunt Becky, for both of us, has been many a helter skellter slide, but the highlights dwarfed any slips or concerns. It became obvious while visiting Rannoch House ….and the new Victoria gardens home, how tragic , sometimes horrendous Alzheimer’s Disease and mental health was for many residents in the homes, however although of occasion flareups, due to Aunt Becky’s inherited temperament, Becky just wandered around in a world of her own. The staff were brilliant, coping with a colossal mixture of vulnerable residents, and it was only at Aunt Becky’s funeral address, we discovered about her habit of ambling around other people’s bedrooms, nicking an apple, return to the common room sitting alone, acting brazenly chuffed. With not a tooth in her gums, endeavouring unsuccessfully to annoy the purloined fruit, acting with a hizzie attitude… as if to say, F--- you! Was it naughty, of course it was…but this was Becky, in her own wee world?

Over the years Aunt Becky has given us quite a few underestimated knick-knacks, which we treasure, especially now as they are history of both Uncle David and her. We possess two wall clocks, both with history. Positioned in pride a place on a wall in our so-called living room, is a 30-day key wind up clock, which was a replacement timepiece for a genuine antique, owned by their mother, which was stolen from their home in Haywood street in 1983. Since this period, the mechanism of the timer has become suspect as it invariably loses 3 or 4 minutes a day… unceremoniously stops ticking after a random time.

The second clock, was originally in Uncle David’s bedroom in Haywood Street, has a secret past. When they lived in Allender Street, Both Becky an Uncle David smoked and smoked heavily Kensitas Club Cigarettes, with coupons in each packet. The tobacco mob Brand slogans included "Kensitas - that's good!"…. “Our Belief, the Finest Leaf"…and "As good as really good cigarettes can be”, Every cigarette contained 10 mg of carbon monoxide,10 mg of tar, 0.9 mg of nicotine. Kensitas clubbed everyone by deviously offered reputed gifts, encouraged to smoke yourself to cancer, or mortality

Both Becky and David saved up many thousands of vouchers to have possession of a ‘Seiko Quartz wall silent ticker, on the hour and half-hour chimes, always was in Uncle David’s bedroom, right up till Aunt Becky was given a surprise place in Rannoch House. Since then, the brother/sister precious timepiece has been on the wall of Toni’s room. I often wonder why we refer it to be; ‘Toni’s’ room, for she never stayed overnight, since we moved into the place in October 1999.

The pendulum in this battery-operated clock never swung, yet strangely the clock kept exact time, with a distinctive loud chime. At precisely 12, it boisterously chimes 7 times…at 5 exactly, it stridently chimes 12 times…five hours late. We have decided to have the living room’s wind-up clock, cleaned, and repaired professionally. The somewhat odd battery timepiece in Toni’s room…we will keep as it is…it so reminds Rebecca and I of Uncle David and of course… Aunt Becky
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peter.howden
post 16th May 2021, 09:59am
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Tell a tale

Information is power, so they say… however it can be helpful, or sometimes hinders the listener, when a few grains of truth is mixed with gilding the lily with craic! testing to the steel of a man or vamp of a lady. On rare occasions certain peoples give out information, attempting to purify a colourful rendition, however the innocent traveller may be duped into thinking its history. If the narrator can imitate sincerity…then the storyteller is halfway creating an erroneous reality.

The source of this fable began shortly after arriving in the village of historic Saissac, with its Medieval, Cathar castle, the gateway of ‘Black Mountains, overlooking the fabulous Midi Pyrenees. I was visiting a household of a well-respected family from Biggar, Scotland, though the main gentleman initially from Liverpool…well delighted he is. Having been to this region several times before, tramping as best as I could around the forest and the man-made reservoirs, with no thought of any danger what-so-ever during the high summer, grateful the fearful Scottish Midge were far across the seas.

Now France has something in common with the Scottish countryside, especially the view from the top of Avenue De La Liberie. On this sunny occasion one outstanding corker of a structure almost finished. The main building dominating the mountainous part of the dwelling village. This was to be the new home of their hard-working son. The three-story building was especially obvious to the eye because, at that point, the whole house exterior was a bright colourful orange awaiting the finishing outside plastering.

While standing across the other hillside, staring at the whole fantastic view, two passing lumbering English hikers stopped to gaze across at the eye-catching creation, politely asking why it was coloured so? I felt a little Scottish mischievous and slightly roguish.
Taking a sip of water, I congratulated them on being alert about this construction, as I had some local knowledge about its incredible history. Softly stating the house’s ‘Nom de Plume’, was “The wee house of Shaw’s”, I continued with a straight, almost solemn expression, stating sharply, the ‘Auld Alliance’, of 1294 amid Scotland and France, made it possible for such a stirring project. The backpackers moved nearer, giving the impression they were not only interested but keen to listen.

I continued the tale…the planning architecture, Mr. Rankeillor, Esquire, and the materials had been bought and paid for by Jacobite monies remaining, first raised in 1778. These funds were originally raised for the victorious return to Scotland, of Bonnie Prince himself, however had not materialized. The sum grew and grew through the ages, used in both World wars for the comfort of dying Scottish soldiers, with some monies sent home to their wanting families. Since the Scottish Nationalist had achieved their objective in their homeland; the guardians of the monies agreed to build a refuge for travelling Scots. It was solemnly ordained…any ‘Balfour…Stewart, or Breck’, will not pay one farthing in lodgings, while all other true Scots will bide for just a few coppers.

The hiking company seemed well pleased, being privy to such information as I added earnestly; “If you travel to Carcassonne itself, you will find an auld Jacobin Gate to the south of the river Fresquel”. I left them soaking up this well-earned information.

It is certain they had never read Robert L. Stevenson’s “Kidnapped”, or they might have tumbled to the names…. That’s Sassenachs for you !
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peter.howden
post 20th May 2021, 01:10pm
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Hector’s French-Kissing

When Hector was in early teenager adolescence, it was presumed, ‘French- Kissing’, was the accolade for going native, the ultimate intimate contact before the big bang. Kissing was in three stages; the first was the quick peck after several occasions of so-called dating. The second and most common was winching was a series of kissing on the lips very much closed if not clenched, and perhaps a nibble on the neck or skin shown to sunlight. The eventual third was open mouth approach, not only raunchy for its time but apt to be deemed as being a wet blanket, simply because the young lad had little or no practice in this incredible amazing stage. So much so; he could be taken by surprise ,if a young lady introduced this gambit, making the slivers of anticipation undoubtedly knock havoc over his juices, both above and below. If any such young lady proceeded to act in such a fashion, this would leave the poor dumb boy flabbergasted with mouth wide open.

Anything French or from the forbidden region called continental, was deemed as utopia if not beyond Valhalla. Something in this genre or field was fine for we would go anywhere from a knee trembler or just the hint of a promise of a maybe. The ultimate luxury of babysitting; where a young hopeful could put into practise and motion, all that had been learnt by attending the A.B.C. Waverly Cinema, the Elephant movies, or the dark crevices of the Embassy flicks.

A French X Film was deemed to have nudity, with the tons of sexual acts, so deprived from view in this backward country. It was a well-known fact that the French lived on sex…with the occasional wine or lager, just to stop the monotony. A different way existence for we poor lads in such a grey reality

It was a French film which taught Hector the basics for fighting without much effort, plus looking cool into the bargain. The secret was simple. Having a longish smouldering cigarette in your mouth which attracted the chicks, as well as looking hard. If any wee fly guy even thought of challenging, along with his mates as back up, then all you had to do was the following, stand right in front of the assailant ,face to face, at right moment he was about to strike, thrust the cigarette with your tongue, blow it into his face, which let fly the hot ash in all directions around his eyes. Proceeded to kick him between the legs and down him. The other hoods ran off in shock, though Hector found kicking someone in the kneecaps was far more effective.

This actually worked, however it did have its downside, for the ultimate problem was at School where the teachers, especially the headmaster, frowned on the habit of smoking, and the stiff leather belt was the reward if ever seen. The problem of finance came into the picture, the expense in buying tobacco filled projectiles. Like gunslingers of the Wild West, practice hard practice often which mounted the tolls almost out of the league of a schoolboy. While rehearsing this dangerous action, most of the time the fag would stick stubbornly to the lower lip and burn virgin skin between it and the chin.

To achieve the silicon version of success attracting the opposite sex was almost beyond reach as Hector was constantly wheezing with the fumes of the cigarettes, oozing up his nose and throat…. learning non-inhaled smoke annoyed the tonsils more than anything. But the biggest problem was continually covered in plasters and red marks closely resembling some spreading fungus, or rare disease all around the bottom part of his face. This caused an instant no go area for young ladies

Ach… back to the pictures …in the dark
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peter.howden
post 24th May 2021, 06:35pm
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A keek back

I am of the age where comfort is far more important than style or elegance, though the latter I never really achieved. As for the former, come to think of it, in my early youth, my appearance was wobbly at best, striving to be a cool extravert individual. Most of my companions did exactly the same individually cut and flair. Our imaginations were filled with urgency throughout anything we did, believing we were the very first living souls to experience such crushing and gripping emotions. We were rebels, but unlike ‘James Dean’ on the silver screen…we had a cause.

We thought we were the Bee’s Knee’s, acting and certainly chic even beyond belief while all along our cloth was cut from the same bail of cloth, which produced collective hordes of identity fraudulent individuals. Our main aim was attempting to defy the bouncers in the Barra-land, close to Glasgow Cross, or the Maryland, just off Sauchiehall St. The dancehalls were all besieged by a waving crushing sea of personalities, all looking the same, especially in the Maryland, which was a sort of converted room and kitchen, with maybe a large foyer. Very tight Ice blue denims attacking one’s crutch, may have looked becoming…but a threat doing a severe mischief to a young county boy.

Rock had just rolled over into instrumentals ,playing pop songs in the Charts of the ‘New Musical Express’, a dire must for our generation. I think it was around then, I sort of took the notion to change. My thoughts were purely selfish for sex, as I worked out the way to attract the opposite sex was to be truly dissimilar to all fads and modes. Whether my cunning strategy worked or not, I could not say, yet I nearly always managed to walk about with a smile on my face…perhaps due to minus the taut Spanish Inquisition’s ice-blue jeans

Now, in today’s climate, the risk of being interfered with, comes from other quarters, mainly ‘She who must be obeyed,’ coiling up to say…with woe in her voice; ‘You’re not leaving this house dressed like that’. It is more a threat than a question. We are safely in retirement; deep in the discussion of what ‘Do’ has come top of the list… another cruise?!. I am quite ignorant as to the ship shape of such sails but was previously horrified when informed of having to dress proper for dinner, even if you are not one of the chosen for the captain’s table .

My good friend, the charming laid-back Jane, wheelie for short, implies I would scrub up well in a dicky-bow and dinner jacket, which is expected for such occasions in the more well to do voyages around the seven seas to the four corners of the world, but I dread the fact of being staked out more like a puffed stuffed penguin

My preference would be in the adventures of ‘Tin-tin’…at Captain Haddock’s table, or more profound, Captain Pugwash on the Black Pig, steered into the horizon by the rascal ‘Puff the magic dragon’. At both captains’ tables, along with Jackie Paper, you never had to dress for dinner. Lower my flag… this sounds seaworthy to me.
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peter.howden
post 31st May 2021, 02:58pm
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Tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce
Not Quite the Highland Institute


Stranger than fiction is any passed down message from a person to another person, and how the listener hears what they wish or hope to hear, by picking up something totally different from the original message. This can lead to a drastic unforeseen price for the initial sender’s intention.

For too short a period, Hector was under the spell of Helen, not of Troy fame, but a real Scottish lass launching a thousand hopes. Waves of black hair hiding such fair complexion, highlighting her pure blue eyes. Pulsating red lips as if she always ate strawberries…a Glaswegian would say, “What a Stoater”. Taking a night school course, Helen wearing a bright country check blouse, a neat tidy skirt, indicating her natural charms, was the first person he met. Hector soon found out religion was paramount to her, and to her family who were extremely strict, in reformed Presbyterian theology… in the original Calvinist style.

They became close, or as close as a young clan blossom would allow in these circumstances, when she asked an innocent question. “Do you like Highland Dancing?”. Hector’s knowledge of the ‘Gay Gordens’, originated from compulsory school dances, practiced in plimsolls for weeks, forced to attend. He had been to the fabulous ‘Highland Institute’…and what a ball, grand music of Iain McDonald’s band, favourite amongst the Glasgow Gaels, while the bar open until the early hours of the morning…2.30 If he recalled correctly. If you thought Glaswegians were famous for refreshments, the Highland gentlemen were in a superior league

Helen spoke of a special event for Sutherland Presbytery, to be held in the ‘St Andrews Halls’ in Granville Street. He expressed how honoured, bowing down before his love, when Helen, in a stern manner he had not witnessed before, spoke firmly. “God help you if you fail to display Feudal respect!”, almost spoken in tears. It was obvious this gathering was close to her heart, and Hector did everything to sooth her worries.

Unfortunately, on the very day of the event, Hector was unable to attend this highbrow affair, plus not possess Helen’s phone number… So, he looked to his best friend, “The Bruce”, to attend this ‘Do’ using Hector’s invitation, to personally inform his Highland Lass of his dilemma. His desperate picaresque wish was to impress both her father and of course Helen, muddled his choice of ‘The Bruce’. Hector informed him about the history of Helen’s family, and the exact words to relate to his beloved…. ‘Being an up-and-coming employee, he has been unexpectedly ordered to work late ’. “The Bruce” dutifully attends, spoke to both the father and lovely Helen, though he did say they did not seem to be impressed. In fact, they left early.

Hector looked for his beloved over the next couple of days, via the Brookland Café, their special spot to hold hands at the corner table after class. For the first time he went to her home, but alas no one answered the door. A second visit brought her furious father insisting, if he knocked at the door once more, he would have Hector’s head off…Hector believed him…how he was gutted.

Meeting Helen some years later from their experience…she asked if he still had ‘The Problem?’. Hector obviously had no clue to what she was referring. Helen had changed since their first meeting. No longer haunting eyes, surprise smile beaming from an angelic face. In the place was a frown looking constantly in an impatient manner for any ordinary goings on of people. In other words, she appeared permanently annoyed.

She barked, “there was no skirl of pibrochs blazing through the night air, or many an arm bellowed out tunes of glory, or she was not listening…it was a national spiritual pious discussion”. The message supposedly received was The Bruce’, yelling out over the solemn conference room….“Hector could not be bothered to come…he was striving to get pissed”. ‘The Bruce’ deliberately given a false message, yet he had always sung the praises of Helen, accusing Hector for not being good enough for the Scottish Princess?

This Hector could not believe, for after all he was his best mate… though being an eccentrically uneducated bigot, ( sadly, not uncommon in those days). Could ‘The Bruce’, in his ignorance, mistake the word Calvinist, for being Catholicism… surely not?

The Saint Alexander Halls had a devastating fire shortly after that particular night, the insides were completely gutted….was this an Omen?
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peter.howden
post 4th Jun 2021, 09:09am
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For two days my computer was with Doctor Fergus, who collected it and brought in back yesterday, after I had mucked up the drives again. To resolve my incessant I.T. problems… preventing it happing again 100%... his advice was profound, and clear….buy a brand new computer…and DON’T take in out of the box
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peter.howden
post 4th Jun 2021, 12:57pm
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All in the mind ?

I have noticed over the years, especially during the previous lockdowns, my brain reaction is more than slightly fuzzy, lost in simple question on history or maths or on practically any subject…but more alarming is the continuous deterioration of memory. I loss things which in fact are practically right in front, or move from room to room, fail to recollect why I did so.

Thinking of these growing defects, I thought I may become a real living…. ‘Worzel Gummidge’, with a selection of heads I could change into when a certain subject needs an intelligent reply.

However, now I may be creating more things to be fangled over…for instance…managing which head is for which subject… also would probably need to be surrounded by many, many heads…just to keep ahead?
A Glaswegian Hobo
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peter.howden
post 12th Jun 2021, 07:29pm
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JIM stepped down from the train

Jim stepped down from the train in a curious mood, having a date with a female of the species, an extraordinary occurrence due to his line of business. Although a stranger to such earthy emotions, he bristled with ideas of friendly persuasion, determined not wasting one golden minute. Purposefully ‘walking the walk’, strutting down the platform, as he heard a distant ticking clock ,although no sign of any timepiece anywhere.

Jim’s wandering eyes caught sight of an old childhood friend across the line opposite. He stopped and shouted his name. The one-time buddy didn’t respond. Jim noticed his pal looked very youthful, as if he had pealed years off this life, then again, his chum had always used a long spoon supping with the devil. The man if it was the man…just vanished as a wistful illusion. Making his way through the thronging crowd, his single goal to meet his lady. His unaccustomed excitement failed to notice the madding of the crowd, as if they too were franticly looking for someone special, becoming crazy in doing so,

Jim attempted to focus further afield but there was no background whatsoever, only what was happening in an exceedingly small radius. Everything outside this given circle was just a mishmash blur. The ticking beat was louder than before, as if there was a deadline to meet. The compulsive beat was coming from inside Jim’s head. For no obvious reason, Jim’s childhood memory of his father stood in front of him. If sternness was measured in musical notes, then his old man would be a demon symphony, racing with the hoofed one. For some countless moments is father just stood there, in front of him though just out of reach, motionless and as if he were not real? Then as suddenly as he came, he was gone. Something wickedly familiar about this, for Jim sensed he had done all this before many times, a queer nightmare, or a cruel trick of ‘Deja-vu’.

His thoughts turned to his girl, driving all other trivia away except this lonely emptiness coming from deep inside him, which stubbornly would not shift. He knew just one glimpse of her angelic features would make all well, perhaps rid him of this repetitive tick in his mind. As if by magic she was there, beautiful as a heavenly angel. Only just a few tantalizing steps away. Jim tried desperately to quicken his steps but something powerful was slowing everything down, frame by frame. Strong signals were also racing from an invisible clock… shattering each thought.

He mustered every ounce of strength, yet he was no further forward. She was woefully just out of reach, his one true love. All the meaningless sex relationships he had endured while his virgin love waited for him. Had she known it would have broken her innocent heart ,but she did not…thank God.

Jim felt a deep pain of agony as each prohibited step made no difference, his arms were no nearer her caress. Her inviting purity in her white dress, personified tantalizing movements by a hidden secret wind, from nowhere. His anger was only overtaken by utter frustration of the highest magnitude. There was something terribly wrong as small pieces of memory filtered past his growing temper. The noise of the clock was now almost unbearable, suddenly realizing this has happened before…but why?

Without any warning, all before Jim, just vanished, leaving a feeling of excruciating despair. He knew dread would take over for what seemed an eternity. Within his head came an unwanted message, same again tomorrow but you will not recall…until the end! Perhaps akin to Prometheus, one day there will be freedom from his torment
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peter.howden
post 16th Jun 2021, 07:06pm
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The demise of an obstinate spider


In our household, ‘She who must be obeyed’, is rather uncertain of spiders, whereas I’m not, although knowing little about arthropods with eight legs, except being cheesed off with ‘Little Miss Muffet’, many moons ago. I heard the master…Mr David Attenborough explain these household gate crashing creatures have 8 eyes, keeping other impish wee pests under control, which does seem a waste of visual appliances as their actual eyesight is shaky, relying on vibration and touch to find their way around. Outside the spiders of all sizes and design can lose out to Predators, however David’s people on human’s environment and survival failed to reveal any such spider predators(other than human) within the Scottish abode.

Big Willy(our spider) arrived around three months ago in the downstairs loo, giving ‘She who must be obeyed’, certain type of shivers, being on the throne at the time. Over the next few weeks, it popped out into the hall just to inform the household he was there. No, I’m only presuming it was he as it never gave me the time to check, though how I would achieve this scientific observation was way beyond my feeble abilities. Now and again late of a night, it would scurry noisily into the living room, across the imitation luxury parquet flooring, causing a rumpus for ‘She who must be obeyed’, lifting her legs to prevent body connection. It would then dart under the telly and programme recorder, presuming to gain free good vibrations from the electric appliances.

We are undoubtedly no Arachnologist experts, but Oor Willy was developing bigger, because it’s 8 legs could reach places it couldn’t reach before. Now the kitchen seemed to be its base. The reason for this detection… most early mornings, by yours truly , it was discovered in the kitchen sink, obviously the beasty wished to drink water. Now the puzzle thickened when each time, with the aid of tissue, I lowered it to safety, but the obstinate creepy-crawly did neither creep nor crawl…just stayed there in the path of danger from a weary inept sod as myself.

Sadly, yesterday morning in the space near the refrigerator lay crumpled up was Big Willy, his Russian roulette finally caught him napping. It is rumoured spiders detest acetic acid vinegar. If this is true, and to avoid meeting another spidery, we must munch Fish and chips…with tons of vinegar of course, every evening throughout the year

Personally, I believe it must have been a much larger nastier spider who caused Big Willy’s demise…and we have no idea how big it may be….except the washing machine now looks at an awkward slant…as if something foreign was lurking underneath?
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peter.howden
post 21st Jun 2021, 01:55am
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Jim stepped down from the train

Jim stepped down from the train slowly, checking every plausible movement along the platform. He had accepted a verbal contract, the type you can’t break because it would reverse against him. He had no choice having reached the age where he had to prove he is as good as he never was ? his life existence emerged from harshness, so long ago it was unclear how or why he emerged as a contract killer

His plain hypothesis of the rules of life had always been uncomplicated. is it not so we all exist on borrowed time in one form or another? Half the world addicted and need medication which without it would alter their lives or would expire….while the other half are in dire want within various degrees of starvation… all due to a .00000000001% of the indefinite ultimate powerful, who make the rules, near enough owning life or death thru what they decide…Jim was just adding one more demise…again? He began a meticulous plan coldly, to sharply expel a life, having a bizarre professional pride of his accomplishments.

Yet recently, ethics misgivings crept in, triggering uneasiness and chronic insomnia. Possessing no conviction in any afterlife, but now facing a creeping acorn of thought, each mortal‘s actions were accountable within themselves, His concern about this interfering quandary …would it stabilize, and his specialized work would not suffer. He sauntered unhurried deliberately as his profession demanded, aiming for a particular venue where his target would be, by habit. Reaching the intended destination, preparing his stand for the human pray, then the inevitable wait, oddly a slight uncomfortable dampness seeped under his dapper attire.

Without warning, his gun erupted hitting his prey exactly as planned, Jim unemotionally turned to quietly disappear into the unknown. A second gun exploded seconds later, unexpectedly Jim slump to the ground…dead…as an intended target . The unseen assassins walked away slowly, as the profession demanded, conversing as they went, stating, “it sad, he was the very best in his prime…but lost his edge!”
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peter.howden
post 24th Jun 2021, 03:39pm
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Jim stepped down from the train

Jim stepped down from the train unaware where exactly he was. Ahead, an old-fashioned door lay half a jar, which for some unexplained reason beckoned him to enter. Inside, although in darkness there was something, or someone lurking in the dimness, releasing a creepy sense of foreboding in him. As his eyes slowly accustomed to the lay of the land within the dull chamber, an auld period schoolteacher’s desk, complete with high stool, stood in the far away corner. A well-used birch wood cane, one of the most evils of ancient schooling, stood stiffly against the wall in that corner. A bizarre light bore down on a child’s stool, which he could not resist the hypnotic urge to move towards it…and awkwardly sit down, facing a brown desk.

There was nobody to see but Jim was being instructed mentally, plus beyond his knowledge seeing a chalked smudged sign, ‘Tolls of life, then more voices joined in his mind. The loudest voice kept repeating, “Multiple layers collect throughout the years in human beings’, leaving gashes of remorse and ambiguity released from hidden depths within, but no immunity to be found by the individual!”. A second high pitches voice overlapped the first one uttered incessantly, “the past is always present, no matter how much you deny it, but more important, reputed lies will eternally repeat louder and louder until … unknowingly innocently taken to be the dreaded black gospel”.

A third, but most intimidating echoing voice transplants into Jim’s distorted brain, plunging menacing mental daggers possessing poisoned tips, to slip past each and every one of his God made ribs, then restart the punishment again and again, for countless time. A final repetitive warning, “it’s not the darkness you should fear…but the light… the sharp edge of cruelty eternal”. Suddenly, Jim sees the teacher’s blackboard as the chalk scribes for all to see, ‘all ye who enter here...abandon hope’.

Without warning Jim returned to a concrete platform, ready to climb into another pullman rail coach heading for…he couldn’t recall. All Jim could think… was he a lost soul, or just a ghost ?
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peter.howden
post 2nd Jul 2021, 01:32pm
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Jim stepped down from the train.

Jim stepped down from the train almost at once felt an inner dread he had no idea he had. Perhaps it was the cold clinical scene in front of him, all around, men in steel protective hats as a common theme though different colours of coats seem to be the order of supremacy. Jim easily deduced this as true within moments of arrival, he witnessed brown coats always salute the obvious superior White coat. Within moments later he observed grey coats did equal malodours when coming across Brown coats.

The justification for Jim’s inward shudder was not clear, however instincts warned him to take caution. Jim walked towards some noisy commotion, similar to what gagger counters make. All around was signs emphasising in large print, “All men equal”…. underneath in smaller precarious scribble was… ‘and women’. An idea whizzed through his now puzzled mind; it seems to depend on what coat you are wearing? What colour of coat he was actually wearing , he could not see for some reason, but it had immediate effect as bodies braced themselves submissively…to allow him passed?

A panel of gauges and switches coupled with a blank screen which was obviously to do with high Tec. A white coat approached, thrusting a clipboard into Jim’s right hand, containing documents of obvious importance. . “All is prepared; Sir just gives the word ?” the White coat asked. . The board’s first page had a bold heading, nuclear and atomic power will deter violence, followed in distinct red capital letters; Equal society and the atomic bomb as a deterrent.

Jim looked around to see a room closely reminiscent of the science class at school but bigger, much bigger, each wall having a whole window spanning, though with shutters down. “Just press Sir …and we will have won!”. Glancing down Jim spotted an obvious singular button on a panel loaded with gauges and the like. Without thought or ponder… Jim just did what he was told.

A silence overcame the congregation of blue, red, green, yellow, and white coats ….as the brown coat wearers , they alone looked worried. A colossal bang which Jim could not relate too, followed by the shutters slowly cranking up revealing what was behind them. All Jim could see was a massive mushroom shaped cloud…reaching for the heavens.

Over a hidden loudspeaker came a booming voice… “we have had to take this action as the rest would not listen; so hence to the natural conclusion”, a long pause followed until the speaker crackled, “would all personnel remember to stay inside the compound for the next 1,000 years, the radiation will not clear before….this is the sacrifice we had to make”.

Jim fell down from the step, revealing all he witnessed but could not fathom, slowly moving his head around, his eye caught sight of a mirror. He walked right in front of it… and gazed. Sudden terror took over as it dawned on him… he could not see himself…. There was nobody in the mirror.
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peter.howden
post 3rd Jul 2021, 02:36pm
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SEEING IS BELIEVING

As I grew older, I could see the operation coming, but none to clearly treading into a world where I did not want to be. I stepped gingerly into the day patient eye care, within Gartnavel Hospital. Greeted by a smiling face belonging to the reception lady, who, after taking my appointment slip, checked to see where I was on the rota. Her face turned to puzzlement because my name was not present. She smiled, adding how some mistake was made, then read my introduction note once more. Smiling even broader as she said, with almost a sincere tone, “Mr Howden you are 24 hours early”.

What could I do? What could I say apart from, “This proves I need my eyes done”? I was there because of Cataract problems from my left eye, not so bad on the right. The Doctor had explained, on a previous visit just what was going to occur, unfortunately it was not going to happen that day because of my silliness. All the worry or the panic and deep concerns of pain was for nothing, having to repeat it all again tomorrow. My application as a born-again devout coward was accepted with flying colours, mainly yellow and in streaks.

The following day as the bell tolled for those not seen; I dutifully arrived at the correct time and place. Again, the young lady was all smiles welcoming to put me at ease. For a brief moment I felt ready for Madame Guillotine, whose name had been called during the French revolution. I half expected an old crow knitting on a wooden bench. No old hag as I approached the waiting room, just several people in the same boat as me.

One by one we are called in by the head vet of eyes; just to check everything…also per chance for one has change his or her mind, but I just could not be such a one. The drops put in my eye with regularity was to enlarge the pupil, they said it will nip but are of little consequences. The big problem was passing time, for it is a long stretch to wait for an operation which, if everything goes to plan, will last no more than twenty minutes. The nurses were excellent in calming the unready patients as everyone gazes nervously around without actually looking anywhere. Now it was my turn to go.

Down the stairs on a wheelchair, being pushed by a perfect young lady nurse, making me feel like a fraud. Once arrived to find it as chilly as a morgue, though the staff are ample to assist lessening any worry. Placed on a movable high bed, shuffled into the anaesthetist. A couple of swabs wiped around the eye and left to listen to a lady who insists holding my hand. I protest as I remind her, we had not formally been introduced and indeed I was a happily married man. The reason for such familiarity was simple; while during the operation, if the need to cough or sneeze, I must warn the nurse by squeezing her hand. she would alert the doctors operating, to move the expensive and sensitive equipment out of harm’s way.

My only real tenseness was when something was placed behind my eye. It was not painful in the least but watching this foreign thing moving ever so closer to my naked eye, enflamed my natural coward-ness. Once competed; whisked into the main operations room where every step explained in an easy tone restored my confidence. During this astonishing experience filled with wonder and amazement, complete utterer darkness then instantly a brilliant heavenly light. I could not help, gripping nurse’s hand, calling out Jesus Christ. It was psychedelic with the lights along with passing shadows. Magic Mushrooms. I am positive I heard a ‘pop’ when my natural lens was dissolved and removed.

It was over, back to the compassion of the ladies of the dome, giving me a nectar drink of water for a starched mouth before returning in safety, to the recovery part of the open ward I had come from. Each lady of the lamp preformed their duty way beyond the call, leaving me rather ashamed of almost stopping the circulation of blood, by such a hard clench on the nurse’s hand earlier on. An hour to make sure I was able to be released into the wilds of the West End though the hospital insisted I must be with a friend or loved one. I was luck in having both because “She who must be obeyed” was waiting patiently.

The second operation on my right eye was a cake walk…giving years of magic sight…but now, my rolling memory…is in arrears?

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